Thursday, December 17, 2015

Crystal Serenity to focus on North America in 2017

Crystal Cruises said the Crystal Serenity will sail in North and South America in 2017 after spending most of its time in recent years in the Mediterranean.  Following its world cruise from Miami, the Serenity will embark on a repositioning voyage to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal. Subsequent cruises include seven-day explorations of California’s coastline; a 14-day Mexico itinerary; a 16-day route through the Hawaiian Islands; seven-, nine- and 10-day cruises through the ports and glaciers of Alaska and British Columbia; seven- and 10-day itineraries through the ports of New England and Eastern Canada; and warm-weather fall and winter cruises along the southern East Coast into the Caribbean.  Crystal said that guests seeking a European experience will by 2017 be able to try its Crystal Esprit mega-yacht, which will spend nearly all of its time in the Med, or its new river cruises.

For more information and to make reservations on a Crystal Cruise with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Norwegian Cruise Line toughens cancellation terms

Norwegian Cruise Line announced new terms for canceling booked cruises that will require earlier decisions about backing out of trips and impose higher penalties on cancellations.  The changes, which take effect on bookings made after Jan. 1, are complex. But on one common product, the cruise or cruise tour of 7 days or longer, the least costly cancellation will require forfeit of 25% of the cruise fare for bookings cancelled 76 to 89 days from sailing. The current policy is loss of deposit for bookings cancelled 56 to 75 days before sailing. Cancellations 60 to 75 days out come with a 50% penalty, those from 31-60 days a 75% penalty and within 30 days, 100% penalty. The current schedule penalizes cancellations from 29 to 55 days out at 50%, and those from 15 to 28 days at 75%.  Currently, when guests cancel within 14 days of sailing, they lose their full fare.  Standard deposits will be $100 per person on cruises of two to six days, $250 on cruises seven to nine days and $400 on voyages 10 days or longer.  Final payment will be due 75 days from sailings of two to six days and 90 days on longer voyages. Holiday sailings will require final payment 120 days from sailing, except for the Norwegian Sky.

For more information and to make reservations on a Norwegian Cruise or Land Combination package with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Viking Star to sail Caribbean cruises from San Juan

Viking Ocean Cruises said its first sailings in North America and the Caribbean will occur from September 2016 to February 2017, when the Viking Star will sail from San Juan.  The ship will make a series of nine 11-night round trips from San Juan, visiting Tortola, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.  Prior to arriving in San Juan, the Viking Star will do several repositioning cruises, starting with a 15-day Bergen to Montreal trip that departs Sept. 18.
From Montreal, the ship will do a 13-day voyage up the St. Lawrence River, through the Canadian Maritimes and New England to New York.  A 15-day Eastern Seaboard itinerary departs New York for San Juan on Oct. 18.
At the end of the season, the Viking Star will offer an 18-day San Juan-to-Barcelona cruise that departs Feb. 25, 2017.  Presently since its debut in April, Viking Star has been sailing in the Mediterranean and elsewhere in Europe.

For more information and to make reservations on Viking Ocean  Cruises  with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Hatches Plan For Cage-free Eggs

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will provide guests with cage-free eggs over the coming years. The cruise company is committing to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2022, building on an initiative that first introduced cage-free eggs into its supply chain in 2010.  “By moving to 100 percent cage-free eggs we are not only delivering quality food, but acting responsibly when it comes to the welfare of animals in the food system,” said Mike Jones, Vice President, Supply Chain, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  In recent years the cruise company has undertaken significant efforts to provide sustainably sourced food for guests including sourcing pork from gestation crate free suppliers. “Royal Caribbean supports the continual movement of the food service industry in this direction, and remains committed to keeping the treatment of animals in consideration when supplying its fleet with food.”

For more information and to make reservations on a Royal Caribbean Cruise or Land Combination package with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

RCCL keeps pricing in tact, does not lower

FORT LAUDERDALE — Richard Fain, chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said that the company’s 9-month-old price integrity policy had not been violated by its recent Wave kickoff sale, which offers up to $300 in onboard credit for cruises departing as soon as Dec. 10. Fain said the policy evolved to curb “super steep” discounts on the last 2% of empty cabins that didn’t raise “bupkus” in revenue but “antagonized the people who were most important to us — our travel agent partners and our customers.” Fain said the policy varies from banning discounts within 10 days of sailing for a five-day Caribbean cruise to 30 days for certain two-week European sailings.  The whole idea was to stop passengers from comparing prices and being penalized for booking early.  “We were creating a great deal of dissatisfaction for a relatively small group that from our point of view were gaming the system,” Fain said.
Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s vice president of sales, trade support and services, later said the line’s latest sale is really a buy-one, get-one promotion, in which buyers of a cruise get discounts of 25% or 50% on fares for second, third and fourth passengers in the cabin. Prices on the cruises would not be lower than those paid by guests who had booked earlier, she said.
On the subject of Internet at sea, Fain said that Royal’s Voom high-speed service now on Quantum- and Oasis-class ships should be rolled out to the entire fleet by the end of 2016. He said interest in Cuba alone is creating new demand for other Caribbean itineraries.  “All the publicity about Cuba has raised the level of awareness in the U.S. about cruising to the Caribbean,” Fain said.
For more information and to make reservations on a Royal Caribbean Cruise or Land Combination package with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Royal Caribbean testing charge for RFID wristbands

Royal Caribbean International has begun charging $4.99 on the Anthem of the Seas for radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands. Branded Wow bands, the colored, rubberized wristbands are a substitute for SeaPass key cards. Royal said the charge is a test of a new pricing strategy for the bands, which had been distributed for free up to now on Quantum-class ships.  Using the bands, passengers can access their cabins and pay for onboard purchases.  Royal had discussed a $2 charge for the bands when they were introduced on Quantum of the Seas, but it was never implemented.
Guests in Junior Suites and above on Anthem will continue to get the bands free in their staterooms upon boarding.
The Anthem, newly arrived in the U.S., sails year-round from Bayonne, N.J.
For more information on making reservations for a Cruise  with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two Celebrity Cruises ships to get new outdoor venue

Celebrity Cruises will create a new outdoor area for two of its Millennium-class ships. The Infinity and Summit will get the new Rooftop Terrace, featuring “chic, comfortable furniture and unique artistic elements.” At night, guests will be able to watch movies on a large outdoor screen. Celebrity Cruises made a video about the ship changes, starring the captains of the Infinity and Summit: Nikolaos Frantzis and Kate McCue, respectively.  “Rounding out the unique outdoor experience will be a variety of specially curated food options available for purchase and presented in unique serving vessels, inspired by the entertainment content, the destination, or the occasion,” Celebrity said.
The Rooftop Terrace will be located to the aft of Deck 12.  Celebrity also said Tuscan Grille will replace the S.S. United States restaurant on the Infinity and the Normandie restaurant on the Summit, with artifacts from the two namesake vintage ships being relocated to other display space.
Other changes include removing the themed décor from the casino, creation of an enclosed portrait studio and makeovers of the Penthouse and Royal level suites. Renovations are scheduled for Oct. 15 to 29 for Infinity and Feb. 27 to March 12 for Summit. The Rooftop Terrace is scheduled to open on the Infinity on Dec. 5. 
For more information on making reservations on a Celebrity  and for  exclusive rates and amenities,, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Liberty of the Seas to get 'boomerang style' water slide

Royal Caribbean International will install a first of its type water slide on Liberty of the Seas during a month-long renovation scheduled for February 2016.  Royal Caribbean said a collection of water slides called the Perfect Storm will include one called Tidal Wave, described as the first “boomerang style” slide at sea. The slide features a steep drop that propels riders up a near-vertical wall for a moment of weightlessness and into free fall. The pool deck will also include two new racer slides called Cyclone and Typhoon and the Splashaway Bay kids area.  The Harmony of the Seas, an Oasis-class ship due to enter service next May, also will have a Perfect Storm trio of slides: the Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell (featuring a champagne-bowl slide). That ship will also have a thrill slide called Ultimate Abyss will stretch 10 stories. The 3,634-passenger Liberty begins sailing from Galveston, Texas, in November.
For more information on making reservations on a Royal Caribbean Ship and for  exclusive rates and amenities,, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Will the Travel Industry Shift Its Focus from Millennials to Seniors?

A lot of attention has been placed on millennials in the travel industry today—and for good reason—but one potentially highly valuable and highly lucrative segment of the population may not be getting the attention it deserves. “Senior Travelers,” or those 60 years of age or older, are only growing in numbers, as Anita Mendiratta of CNN Task Group pointed out, per eTurboNews. The global share of seniors, in proportion to the world’s population, increased from 9.2 percent to 11.7 percent from 1990 to 2013, in large part due to a decrease in mortality rates and a decline in fertility rates, according to the United Nations World Population Report on Ageing. By 2050, seniors are expected to make up 21.1 percent of the world’s population, according to the same report, growing from 841 million people in 2013 to 2 billion. Seniors are expected to exceed the number of children for the first time ever in 2047. Also, as Mendiratta pointed out, a recent list sheds even more light on the world’s ageing population. According to investment group Moody’s list of “Super-Aged Societies By 2030,” Japan is the leading ageing nation. Its current population of 26.4 million elderly people (65 years of age and older) is expected to grow to 30.7 million by 2030. Germany, Italy, South Korea, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States (from 14.7 million to 20.1 million), Australia and China follow, in that order.
But it’s not just about the numbers—Senior Travelers tend to have higher levels of disposable income and stay for longer periods of time when traveling, Mendiratta writes. They are a notably big customer base for the luxury and cruise segments. They also tend to bring along their children and grandchildren, as well as form travel clubs and relationships, meaning greater potential for higher revenue per available room (RevPAR) across the travel industry. But there’s another interesting thing about Senior Travelers. In a fast-paced, technological world, they are on the other end, preferring better one-on-one personalized service to instant gratification. As Mendiratta writes, “These are the people who not only keep destinations buoyant in the off-seasons, they are the travelers that remind us that, for all of the technology at our fingertips, ours is a service industry based on sharing, caring and delivering a personally enriching experience.”  So, as millennials change the travel industry by demanding more technology and faster service, there’s a chance that trend could be subdued in the next few decades if the travel industry decides to focus more attention on the growing senior segment. Things might actually slow down. Additionally, travel companies that are mobility-friendly (rather than mobile-friendly) and offer exceptional health and wellness services could benefit greatly.
The world may be moving at lightning speed now, but there’s a chance it may slow down for seniors in the coming years, especially when it pertains to the travel industry.

For more information on making reservations on a Cruise or Land Combination package that will accommodate Millennials or Seniors, with  exclusive rates and amenities, contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Disney Cruise Line Announces Early 2017 Voyages

It's only 2015, but it's never too early to get excited about upcoming cruises to the Caribbean.
Disney Cruise Line unveiled details of its scheduled ports and itineraries for early 2017, which include voyages to the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations from Florida, Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast. Disney will sail several cruises from Florida's Port Canaveral in early 2017. The cruise line will offer three-four- and seven-night voyages to the Caribbean, each of which will include a day spent at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Port Canaveral is located just an hour east of the Walt Disney World Resort. The 4,100-passenger Disney Fantasy will sail weeklong voyages from Port Canaveral to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, while the 4,100-passenger Disney Dream will embark on three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay.  The 2,400-passenger Disney Wonder will also sail out of Port Canaveral beginning in late January 2017. Guests will also be able to sail Disney from Miami in 2017, with the 2,400-passenger Disney Magic offering cruises to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean that range from three to five nights.  The Disney Magic will also sail limited-time voyages from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In April 2017, the ship will depart on four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean that will include calls in Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts. Meanwhile, the Disney Wonder will sail two seven-night voyages to the Bahamas from Galveston, Texas in January 2017. Those cruises will feature stops in Key West, Castaway Cay and Nassau. Afterward, the ship will sail a six-night voyage to San Juan, making stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica. The Disney Wonder will conclude January 2017 with a three-night cruise from San Juan to Port Canaveral.
For more information on making reservations on any Disney Cruise or Land Combination package and for  exclusive rates and amenities,, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Miracle Baby' Delivered Aboard Royal Caribbean International Cruise

Sept 24, 2015
A Utah family is praising Royal Caribbean International following a miraculous birth aboard the Independence of the Seas earlier this month. reported Chase and Emily Morgan were in the midst of a seven-day Caribbean cruise with their 3-year-old daughter Chloe when Emily unexpectedly went into labor. With the ship still 14 hours out from port, medical staff encouraged Emily to do what she could to hold off delivery. However the baby arrived just moments later. 
The staff originally told the Morgans that Emily had miscarried, but then came a shocking development. "About 45 minutes after I had delivered, the two doctors came back in and said the baby was still alive, however, they didn't expect him to live very long," Emily told
After learning of the situation, the ship's captain ensured an early arrival to port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "He said we are going as fast as we can and we'll port two hours early in San Juan and we'll get you guys to the hospital, but he said that's as fast as I can get you there," Emily said.
Doctors credited the early arrival for likely saving the life of the baby, a boy who the Morgans named Haiden. In a comment made to's Jim Walker, an unidentified passenger provided their account of situation: "Just got off the Independence of the Seas. We had a medical emergency on Sept. 1 and headed full speed to San Juan because a woman gave birth to a little boy on Tuesday morning at 3 a.m." From San Juan the Morgans were transported to a Miami hospital via medical jet. There, one-pound, eight-ounce Haiden, deemed a "micro-preemie" by doctors, saw his prognosis continue to improve. "Royal Caribbean has really been great in keeping in touch after we got into Puerto Rico, making sure that everything was running smoothly," Chase told "They even sent translators with us when we first got into Puerto Rico." The Morgans plan to head home to Utah next month, but Haiden will remain at the hospital until December. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line has developed its own signature top deck attraction

Norwegian Cruise Line has developed its own signature top deck attraction. Just as Carnival Cruise Line has made the water slide its own, and Royal Caribbean International adopted the rock climbing wall as its emblem for top deck adventure, Norwegian has become the cruise line with the ropes course that leaves all others behind.
Norwegian started its love affair with the ropes course on the Norwegian Epic, and has continued it with the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway. The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, due in Miami next month, will take everything one shaky, scary, thrill-inducing step further.  The ropes course on the Escape is a dizzying construction of beams, platforms, tracks, ladders and lines. It will have three levels, up from two on the Getaway and Breakaway, and 99 individual elements, nearly double its predecessors.  An element unique to Norwegian is the Plank, a 6-inch steel beam extending eight feet out over the side of the ship, daring harnessed plank-walkers to venture out to the end. There will be two planks on the Escape, one on either side of the ropes course, up from a single one on earlier ships.  Another over the edge element will be a bowed zip-track, one of five “Sky Rails” that are included in the course.  The challenge of the ropes course is tailor-made for teens but also a good family activity. It provides an exhilarating view from the very top of the 20-deck ship. The only drawback to the ropes course is its vulnerability to bad weather, including high winds on a sunny day.
For more information on making reservations on a Norwegian Cruise Line and for  exclusive rates and amenities,, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Drivers License from Certain States not valid for use to Fly in 2016

If you have a Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire or New York driver’s license you’ll need a second form of ID to get past TSA as soon as the start of next year. Back at the end of December 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced the arrival of the Real ID Act, which set federal security standards for government-issued IDs. About 70-80% of existing U.S. driver’s licenses already met those standards. But driver’s licenses from the four aforementioned states did not, and so were deemed “non-compliant.”

The act has been enforced in phases over the past couple years, and the government has now reached the final phase, which is the aircraft phase. Fliers who could previously breeze through security with their licenses from those non-compliant states will need to provide a second form of identification, such as a passport, once the Real ID Act is fully implemented and enforced. This will happen “no sooner than in 2016.”  New York media has been reporting that the NY state driver’s license will be rendered invalid as a form of ID for flying in 2016. But a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson informed us there were “no announcements” yet about when this final phase would be fully rolled out.

Official DOH literature says:   “DHS will ensure the public has ample advance notice before identification requirements for boarding aircraft change. That notice will include information on the process for individuals with a non-compliant driver’s license or identification card to be able to travel by aircraft.”

For now, it’s unclear exactly when this will happen or how people will be alerted. But if you’re from one of the non-compliant states and have any flights set for 2016, you might want to plan to bring a passport.
For more information and to make a cruise  reservations  contact at 203-288-1884 or email: for  exclusive rates and amenities 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Freedom of the Seas adds self-pour draft beer

Royal Caribbean International is piloting a self-service draft beer tap on the Freedom of the Seas, the first such service the line has offered.  The taps are located around the pool deck and the Windjammer buffet restaurant and serve the Stella Artois brand, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said.  The taps can only be used by guests who buy the Ultimate, Premium or Select drink packages. After buying the package, guests get an authorization card that connects to a radio frequency identification (RFID) device in the tap. That assures that the guest has purchased a drinks package. The tap/card combination has a timer to ensure the tap does not pour continuously, and to provide a time limit between refills, Royal Caribbean said.
For more information on making reservations on a Royal Caribbean Ship and for  exclusive rates and amendities,, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Carnival Cruise ship fire leaves guests stranded on Caribbean island- Update #3

(Wednesday, Sept 9, 2015

Carnival's latest update on the aftermath of the Liberty engine room fire provides info on compensation and plans for the rest of the week:
The Carnival Liberty continues to remain in St. Thomas following an engine fire that occurred yesterday while the ship was docked there during a scheduled port of call visit. The ship’s command is presently awaiting permission from authorities to sail. 
Once the vessel departs, it is scheduled to return to its homeport of San Juan. Guests will have the option of remaining on board through the rest of the week and exploring San Juan or disembarking and traveling home. If clearance to depart St. Thomas is not received by later this evening, the company will move forward with arrangements to fly all guests home from St. Thomas.  All guests are being provided with a full refund of their cruise as well as a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.  This is in addition to a $150 per person credit that has already been applied to guests’ shipboard accounts."
For more information on this and booking a Cruise with exclusive rates, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Biggest Travel Mistakes made even by professionals

1. Overpacking 
At home, with your complete wardrobe available, there's no reason not to run through work, workout and working-the-clubs outfits in a single day. But when your life is crammed into a couple bags, your fashion morality changes. Those socks you wore on the plane should be good for another go. 
The purple tee you slept in ought to be alright for a third wear. Yesterday's undies? Well ...
According to a recent survey by Travelodge, two-thirds of travelers typically return from a trip with at least six unworn outfits. The lesson: You don't need a new set of anything for each day of a trip. Figure on at least two wears for (almost) everything. 

2. Not buying something you like as soon as you see it
You think you're gonna circle back to that shop. You think you'll see a cheaper, better version somewhere else. You won't. That evocative street painting or those Metallica nesting dolls you didn't buy? Now not having them will haunt you for the rest of your life. When you see something you like, just buy it and live without regret.

3. Not checking your phone plan before traveling abroad
What you call "international roaming" your phone carrier calls "shareholder dividend!"  A week of texts from Singapore or St. Lucia shouldn't cost more and hurt worse than open heart surgery. But it happens all the time to travelers who fail to check their phone plans before departure.
4. Trusting "near city center" descriptions
  "Near city center" is like a Bible verse -- open to vast interpretation.  When you find the money you saved on your "near city center" hotel is being spent on 30-minute commutes and outrageous taxi fares, you know you've committed one of the cardinal sins of travel. Related note: Except by purely technical definition, if you're staying near the convention center in Portland, Oregon, you're decidedly not staying "downtown" (as is popularly advertised) by any local sensibility.

5. Taking the "super" shuttle
Wait on the curb for a ride in a sweat-soaked van and risk being the last one dropped off on a nine-hotel run, all in the name of saving a few bucks?  Your time is worth more than that.
Adam Carolla brilliantly sums up this classic travel blunder in his book, "In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks."  "The shuttle is the worst US$20 you'll ever save. It adds 90 minutes to whatever a Town Car or cab would have been. You have the unenviable choice between being dropped off last or being dropped off first and having a bunch of losers who can't afford cab fare and have no friends or loved ones with cars knowing exactly where you live."

6. Not tightening shampoo caps ... all the way
 Those cute, little trial-size shampoo and conditioner bottles are really handy -- until they magically burst open in-flight, spreading a layer of glycerol soap snot all over your bag. 

7. Thinking you know the perfect time to book a ticket
There's an art to reading the tea leaves of the airlines' protean pricing schemes, but there's some muddled science to it, as well. According to Travelers Today, research conducted by Kayak found the optimal timing for a cheap-ticket purchase is 21 and 34 days before domestic and international flights, respectively. But 2012 analysis by concluded that on average the cheapest fares are found 49 days before a flight.  Meanwhile, researchers at Texas A&M University simply found that Saturdays and Sundays are best for finding discount fares.  The golden rule? 
There's no golden rule. Tickets are cheapest when they're cheapest.
Editor's note: The original version of this story reported that claimed the optimal ticket-buying time is 79 or 81 days prior to a flight. The error has been corrected.

8. Trying too hard to chisel out a bargain
Congrats, you just saved 50 cents. Now go get your blood pressure checked.
There's no faster way to become embittered with the locals than going toe-to-toe with a market full of hungry sales people and shopkeepers.  Yes, we understand there's principle involved, but do you really need to whittle the equivalent of fifty cents off the price of an embroidered handbag that's going to sit in the back of a closet anyway?  Just buy the damn thing and spare your heart the cortisol burst for when it actually needs it. 

9. Not changing money at the airport
When traveling internationally, the conventional wisdom is that only amateurs change money at the airport, because the exchange rate for foreign currency will be better in town.  It usually is, but often not by that much. A recent check of the dollar-to-pound exchange rate in London Heathrow was US$1.71 to £1 (with no commission for changes more than US$300).  Near Oxford Circus the exchange rate was advertised at US$1.62 to £1, also with no commission.  Using these rates, converting US$300 at the airport would get you £175.43 as opposed to £185.18 on the street. 
So, you can hit the city like a cashless bumpkin and spend an hour hunting up an acceptable place to change money or, for less than £10, arrive with some local coin in your pocket.  Convenience factor alone makes it worth changing at least a nominal amount of cash at the "ripoff" place at the airport.

10. Underestimating the hell that is Heathrow
On the plus side, you're also getting in your day at the gym.  Speaking of London, it's easy to underestimate the several hundred miles of concourse you'll likely be obliged to traverse and the time-consuming security searches that create jumbled queues and make travelers look more like internment camp refugees than cosmopolitan jet setters. Arriving anything less than two hours before an international flight is risky, but even a longer cushion can get dicey. Imagine walking across a football stadium and you start to get an idea of the Andean trek from the Heathrow Express station to the swarm of travelers clamoring to get on lifts that will take them merely to their start of the Oz-like journey through Terminal 1.

11. Buying cheap flip-flops
You think, "I'm only gonna wear 'em for a week, I might not even take 'em home, why buy the good ones?"  The answer comes when you blow out a toe strap and shred the bottom of your foot a mile into a hike across the local lava beds. And now you have to go back. 

12. Fearing street food
No one wants to get sick on vacation, but why travel all the way to Thailand or Mexico and not eat the local grub?  The locals don't like food poisoning any more than you do. If they're in line, consider the place vetted and assume you're going to be fine. (Cue angry commenters with the "I almost died from a tainted falafel" and "the locals are immune to bacteria" histrionics below.)

13. Buying a drum on the first day of a three-month trek across Asia

We know, this is the antithesis of travel mistake number two, but there are some balls and chains you really don't want to lug around the subcontinent. Not because you'll make instant enemies with everyone in your hostel when they spy you struggling top-heavily into the dorm, but because a) you'll never play the thing, and b) you'll get back home, walk into the new Authentic Beats music shop that replaced your favorite bookstore while you were away and find 10 superior examples of your exact instrument.

14. Over-reliance on guidebooks
Traveler reading guidebook.Making a travel plan using only your guidebook is like making a plan to stand in line at the bank for a week. Guidebooks are great -- we use them all the time -- but it's best to pull just one or two suggestions per day from a guide that thousands of like-minded travelers have read or downloaded. 

15. Not buying the full insurance policy
We're not a bunch of free spenders -- except when the boss whips out the company credit card at the pub -- but a lot of the mistakes on this list come down to adding a significant amount of stress to your life in the name of saving a few bucks.  If you actually end up needing the travel insurance you purchased (a move a significant percentage of our staff thinks is silly in the first place), you're going to want the full coverage.  Just because you're in a country where the beer is cheap, it doesn't mean the healthcare is.  That bargain insurance policy might pay for your flight home when you crash your motor scooter on a winding road in some island paradise. But it won't cover the US$5,000 in stitches and sponge baths you racked up during your three-day international hospital stay.

16. Obsessive photography 
Pity the friends back home who have to scroll through the lot of them. The obsession/obligation to document every street scene, statue and starter course kills the spontaneity and visceral experience that should be the backbone of travel.  It's now so easy to take photos that one click leads to another. 
Before you know it, you have 300 pictures on your phone comprising old buildings, blurry sunsets and plates of food.  Congratulations. Your trip is now defined by low-quality images on a handset that, trust us, nobody back home wants to spend 20 minutes scrolling through.

17. Not checking visa requirements before departure
It's a nightmare come true when you get turned away at the ticket counter on departure day because you didn't realize Brazil requires citizens of your benighted country to secure a visa before travel.

18. Attempting Berlin in a weekend
At 344 square miles, Berlin is a metropolitan Goliath, larger than New York City (301 square miles), and, as the first-time visitor quickly learns, with just as many places to see, eat, drink, shop and get lost. 

19. Using a credit card to get cash
This is the fastest way of paying through the nose for the privilege of paying through the nose. Credit card companies charge a high transaction fee (up to 15 percetn) for using a card to get cash.  These special transactions also attract a higher associated fees than other purchases: the ATM-owning bank will charge a fee; if you're withdrawing a foreign currency the exchange rate will be miserly; and if you're not paying off your balance each month, credit card companies in some countries will apply your partial payments to normal purchases (with a lower interest rate, say 9 percent) before applying them to those cash advances (which have a much higher interest rate), milking your desperation for every pitiless penny.

20. Not printing out reservation details
They're already on your phone and computer, so why bother with hard copies of your hotel name and address? Because your phone, computer, tablet and other electronics might not work with the local network as soon as you land, especially after crossing oceans.

For more information on any Cruise and to make reservations with exclusive rates and amenities, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Celebrity Cruises cancels overnights in Istanbul

Celebrity Cruises said that overnight port stays in Istanbul have been canceled as a result of the security climate in Turkey.  “We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Turkey and have been contacting guests and their travel agents [to make] modifications to their upcoming itineraries,” a Celebrity statement said. Cruises on the Celebrity Equinox, Reflection and Constellation in September and October are so far affected.Celebrity Cruises cancels overnights in Istanbul
For more information on all Celebrity Cruises & Tours and to make reservations with exclusive rates and amenities, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Carnival Cruise ship fire leaves guests stranded on Caribbean island

(Tuesday, Sept 8, 2015- Updated Information

About 4,500 passengers and crew were stranded in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a second day after an engine fire on board a cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp. The company said on Tuesday that a team of experts, including representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, had boarded the Carnival Liberty to assess damage to the engine area. There were no injuries to guests or crew.

Passengers and crew were told to evacuate onshore on Monday after thick black smoke was seen rising from the ship while it was docked in St. Thomas, a Reuters reporter on board the vessel said. Staff distributed water and snacks in the port. The fire was extinguished by the ship's automated suppression system, Carnival said. The cause has yet to be determined and the company has yet to inform passengers of its plans beyond Tuesday. The Carnival Liberty set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday with 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew on board, Carnival said. It was a day into a week-long Caribbean cruise when the fire broke out.

Passengers were transferred to nearby hotels, where movies were screened and a buffet was served before returning to spend the night on the ship. On Tuesday, every passenger was offered $150 credit to spend on board and free transportation into town. The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement that marine safety investigators were on the scene in St. Thomas to assess damage and to determine the cause of the fire.

Engine room fires have disrupted other cruises in recent years. In 2013, the Carnival Triumph was rendered out of service, leaving about 4,000 people adrift in the Gulf of Mexico without power or adequate sanitation. Later that year, a fire aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd ship forced it to dock at Freeport in the Bahamas.  In 2010, an engine fire crippled the Carnival Splendor's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power off the Pacific coast of Mexico. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Writing by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Robin Paxton)

Update On Carnival Liberty Engine Fire In St. Thomas

While docked in St. Thomas (Monday, Sept 7, 2015) yesterday Carnival Liberty experienced an engine fire that was extinguished by the ship’s automated suppression system.  There were no injuries to guests or crew. Guests re-boarded the ship yesterday evening. All hotel services including air conditioning, elevators, toilets, galleys, etc. are fully functional and the ship's normal array of activities, entertainment, dining options and programming are being offered.

A team of experts has been conducting a deeper technical assessment of the affected engine area and working with various authorities including U.S. Coast Guard and the vessel’s flag state. While this process is ongoing, the ship remains alongside in St. Thomas.  Guests are able to spend the day ashore if they wish and the company is providing complimentary shuttle service to popular areas on the island along with a $150 per person shipboard credit.
Carnival Liberty departed San Juan for a seven-day Caribbean cruise with 3,346 guests and 1,150 crew on board."

For more information on this and booking a Cruise with exclusive rates, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Low water levels plague Europe river cruises

A hot and dry summer in Europe has led to lower-than-normal water levels on portions of the Danube and Elbe rivers throughout the summer, and has forced river cruise lines to alter their itineraries during July, August and now into September.  “Water levels on the Elbe and Danube rivers are currently lower than normal and Viking has had to make adjustments to the cruise schedules of several ships sailing these rivers,” Viking River Cruises wrote on its website this week.
Five Viking cruises have been altered this week, four of which include a ship swap. Passengers will be transferred in order to avoid a low-water area of the Elbe River that ships cannot bypass.
Additionally, Viking’s Sept. 2 “Grand European Tour” from Budapest to Amsterdam, scheduled to depart on the Viking Aegir, will begin in Komarom, Hungary, on the Viking Embla. Viking will provide transfers from Budapest to Komarom. “These are currently the only sailings we expect to be altered by the low water on the rivers,” Viking stated. But low water levels have been a problem all summer. The low levels on the Elbe came during a year when Viking launched two new vessels on the river in eastern Germany. Other river cruise lines have avoided the Elbe in part because of the challenges presented when the water level is low. The Danube River is one that all the major river cruise lines sail. The area on the Danube where the low waters have posed a problem is the 75-mile stretch between Regensburg and Passau in Germany. 
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection had to alter eight Danube River sailings in July and August, which included having guests swap ships from one side of the low waters to the other. The company canceled its Aug. 9 “European Jewels” cruise on the Maria Theresa, deciding that there wouldn’t be enough actual cruising in the trip to justify the departure. “We sincerely appreciate the understanding and support our guests and travel industry partners have shown during this challenging time,” Uniworld wrote on its website.
Avalon Waterways wrote on its Facebook page last week that the river levels on the Danube had again begun to recede. “Danube River waters receded over the weekend and early this week. Once again, the waters between Regensburg and Passau are beginning to delay and/or stall ship passage. We are fervently working to keep cruise itinerary disruptions to a minimum. If or when cruise itineraries are altered, however, we will provide affected travelers with alternate opportunities to see and explore the best Europe has to offer,” Avalon wrote on Facebook.
The post elicited a string of comments from passengers, some concerned about current and upcoming sailings, others with positive messages of support and kudos for how Avalon handled past sailings that were disrupted due to low water levels.
The forecast is calling for rain in the coming days, according to Rudi Schreiner, president of AmaWaterways, which has not had to alter any of its Danube itineraries yet this summer. Schreiner is hoping that some much-needed precipitation along the Danube will help bring the river’s water levels back up.
For more information on River Cruises and exclusive rates, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cruise lines leaving Houston high and dry as attention turns to Asia

The Port of Houston is losing both of its homeported ships next year, a victim of a growing focus by North American cruise lines on shifting deployments to Asia. Both Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises have announced 2016 schedules that do not include a ship sailing from Houston, where western Caribbean itineraries are typically offered.  It is the most tangible fallout yet from the cruise industry’s high interest in China, Australia and other Asian markets.
Princess Cruises said the departure from Houston is the final domino in a chain that started when the line moved the Sapphire Princess from Australia to China. The China cruises were announced in 2013 and started in May 2014. The redeployment of several ships ultimately led Princess to move the Caribbean Princess from Houston to Fort Lauderdale in late 2016, where it will still offer some western Caribbean routes.
But for Texas cruisers, the news means a reduced choice of cruise lines and homeports. Following the moves, instead of five lines sailing from the state, there will be three, and they will depart only from Galveston.
Though Asia deployment is the first cause cited by Princess and others in accounting for the change, another factor could be the expiration next year of financial incentives offered by Houston to lure cruise lines to its Bayport Cruise Terminal.  And Carnival has made a strong push in the last several years in New Orleans and Galveston, raising the level of competition in the crowded western Caribbean.
Norwegian was the pioneer of what it dubbed “Texaribbean” cruising when in 1997 it launched weekly service with the old 848-passenger Norwegian Star. Since then, it has dropped the market and returned twice, first in 2007 and again in 2014.  Norwegian did not provide a direct rationale for the latest pullout. For the first time in recent memory, Norwegian is sending a ship, the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star, on Asian and Australian itineraries next year. That will be independent of any decision to position a ship there for Asian-sourced passengers.  Without identifying it, the new deployment “replaces our lowest-yielding seven-day product.”  At the same time, the Norwegian Jade will move from Houston to Tampa, where it will continue to offer seven-night western Caribbean cruises but also mix in a few 10- and 11-night itineraries. The Jade replaces the Asia-bound Norwegian Star, which has been sailing from Tampa.
A somewhat similar game of musical chairs sent the Sapphire Princess to China from Singapore and the Diamond Princess to Singapore from Australia. The Emerald Princess, which had been sailing from Houston, was moved to Australia this year to cover the hole left by the Diamond Princess. Princess plugged the gap by moving the Caribbean Princess to Houston but concluded that wasn’t a good long-term strategy. “It didn’t make commercial sense for us to market and operate one ship from Houston, so we moved the Caribbean Princess to Fort Lauderdale, where we get economies of scale,” O’Connor said.
That will leave Houston with no cruise ships and a deserted 96,000-square-foot terminal after next spring.  Stan Swigart, port director of marketing and communications, confirmed the view that the port’s misfortune arises from the ascendency of Asia.  “The reasons we’re getting is that they’re redeploying vessels to the Asian and Australian markets, and Houston was just not in the mix,” Swigart said.  Next year also marks the expiration of a reported $6.7 million in financial incentives extended to Princess and Norwegian in 2012 to induce them to sail from Houston’s then-vacant terminal.   A drawback for Houston is the building’s interior location off the Houston Ship Channel some 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.   “Galveston’s closer to open water than we are. That may play into it,” Swigart said. “Cruise lines are really finicky. They shuffle the deck a lot, just to keep it fresh.”
After Norwegian’s last departure, in 2007, the $81 million terminal saw no cruise passengers from 2008 to 2013. It was used as a lay-berth port and for ship repairs, Swigart said. At the moment, there are no cruise ships on the horizon that want to dock there, he said.
That’s not the case in Galveston, where Texas-based cruising will consolidate after next year. Carnival has bulked up its presence there, announcing that it will move its newest ship, the Carnival Breeze, to Galveston in 2016 to join the Carnival Liberty and the Carnival Freedom. It also reached a marketing partnership with the Dallas Cowboys and took other steps to attract business.
Galveston is also home to a Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Wonder, and to a Royal Caribbean International ship, the Navigator of the Seas.  In November, Royal plans to replace the 3,276-passenger Navigator with the 4,000-passenger Liberty of the Seas. A 60,000-square-foot expansion of the terminal that Royal uses in Galveston was to have been completed by then, but a redesign has pushed back the opening until the spring, port spokeswoman Cristina Galego said.
The expanded terminal will seat an additional 2,000 passengers. Galego said Royal Caribbean has asked the port to provide an air-conditioned tent as a passenger waiting area until the terminal work can be completed.
For more information on all these cruise lines and ships  as well as making reservations with exclusive rates and amenities,  contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Disney Cruise Line Reveals New Alcohol Policy

Disney Cruise Line has announced changes to its alcohol policy, the Orlando Sentinel reported. 

The stricter new policy, which will go into effect fleet-wide Sept. 30, limits the type and amount of alcohol passengers can bring aboard Disney Cruise Line ships.  Under the new policy, passengers will be allowed to bring a maximum of two unopened bottles — no larger than 750 milliliters — of wine or champagne. And guests boarding with beer will be able to bring six 12-ounce bottles at most. 
However any amount of liquor will be prohibited. Keep in mind that the aforementioned volume limitations apply to boarding at the start of the voyage as well as boarding at each port-of-call.
Passengers will have to consume any alcohol brought on board in the privacy of their cabin, or else pay a fee to drink in the ship's dining room. "We regularly evaluate our policies and made the change," a Disney Cruise Line spokesperson told the Sentinel Monday, adding that the new policy "is not unusual in the cruise industry."  Previously, Disney Cruise Line passengers were allowed to board with beer and liquor as long as it was carried onto the ship. Under the new policy, any beverages brought onto the ship must be stored in a carry-on bag or luggage. Alcohol packed in checked-in luggage will be prohibited.  Disney said it will seize and store any alcohol that violates the new policy onboard until the end of the cruise. 
For more information on all Disney Products and to make reservations with exclusive rates and amenities, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New water park to debut on Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International said that the Harmony of the Seas, an Oasis-class ship due in May 2016, will have a children’s water park called Splashaway Bay.
The water park on the two preceding Oasis-class ships is called H2O Zone.
Splashaway Bay will have sea-creature water cannons, winding slides, a giant drench bucket and a multi-platform jungle gym. A thrill slide called Ultimate Abyss will stretch ten stories, beginning in the pool and sports zone and plunging 100 feet to the Boardwalk neighborhood.  There will be three other slides known as the Perfect Storm trio: the Cyclone, Typhoon and Supercell, the last of which features a champagne-bowl slide.  Harmony will debut in the Mediterranean and move to Fort Lauderdale in November. For more information on all the unique features as well as making reservations with exclusive rates and amenities for this ship or other Royal Caribbean ships, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Friday, August 14, 2015

No cruise impact seen from Tianjin explosions

No cruise impact seen from Tianjin explosions

The fatal explosion in a hazardous-materials warehouse in Tianjin, China, has not impacted cruise facilities at the port near Beijing, said spokesmen for two lines with operations there. Roger Frizell, vice president of public relations for Carnival Corp., said he was unaware of any disruption. Rob Zeiger, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s vice president, said he was unaware of any impact. Royal's Mariner of the Seas based in Tianjin. It has plans to sail Ovation of the Seas there next year.
The explosions killed at least 50 people and flattened a warehouse district at the port, according to media reports. More than 500 people were injured. For more information on sailings from China and to make reservations, contact for exclusive rates and amendities at 203-288-1884 or email:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

RCCL Sticks with No Last-Minute Discount Policy

“We began in March and we’re sticking to it,” Fain said. “It’s still early days, but the impact we’ve seen from the load factor perspective is relatively small and aligned with our expectations. We’re trying to achieve happier guests and better branding. It does seem we’re on the right track.”
The policy eliminates last-minute price cutting at 10, 20 or 30 days out, and has in fact been expanded to 40 days out on some departures. It has stopped some discount-seekers from booking a cruise on an RCCL brand, but Fain said he believes pricing integrity will be a success in the long run.
“We recognize this policy is costing us some money in the short term, but we believe in the long term it will pay handsome benefits,” he said. “Our price integrity policy addressed deep last-minute discounts that are so frustrating to our guests and travel partners and ultimately so damaging to our brands,” Fain said. “Our policy is to hold our price. … It’s really very important to the branding. It’s hard to set yourself out as a brand that is high quality and highly respected in the industry but say you can have it for half-price. The ability to maintain your image as a higher quality product has to permeate everything you do.”
“We remain in the best booked position in our company’s history,” Fain said. Bookings since the April earnings call have been healthy and the company continues to be booked ahead of last year, the company press release said. “Momentum in the Caribbean continues at a solid pace, and our strong booked position in the third and fourth quarters gives us confidence as we move through the second half of 2015,” CFO Jason T. Liberty said. “The trajectory of our brands is firmly on course for another record year of earnings, with healthy trends extending into the first quarter of 2016.”
Fain also said he expects to see more bundling of extras, such as a beverage package or prepaid gratuities, into the up front cruise fare. RCCL’s premium brand Celebrity Cruises recently introduced the permanent value-added pricing structure called “Go Big, Go Better, Go Best!” The program lets guests choose extra amenities — prepaid gratuities, $150 onboard credit, a Classic Beverage Package, and unlimited Internet.
“Philosophically speaking that is a growing trend, and we’re doing more of that,” Fain said. “We really are seeing a desire for this on the part of our guests and very much on the part of travel agents who find it is a much better way to present something and sell it if it’s all included in the package.

For more information about this and other programs available or to make reservations, contact for EXCLUSIVE rates and amenities at 203-288-1884 or email at

Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrity's 2015 Top Chef Signature Sailing Nov 14, 2015

Celebrity's 2015 Top Chef Signature Sailing, where passengers will be joined by six of Top Chef's popular and talented cheftestants on a delicious island — hopping journey through the Caribbean. 

7–Night Eastern Caribbean Getaway Cruise > Celebrity Reflection - November 14, 2015 - Miami round-trip
Featured Cheftestants: Gregory Gourdet, Doug Adams, Nina Compton, Chris Crary, Tiffany Derry, Ash Fulk
Top Chef Signature Sailing Activities, Meet & Greets, Just one opportunity to hobnob with the chefs, take photos, and ask questions.

Quickfire Challenge 
Three teams, guided by a Top Chef chef, will battle against each other in a series of culinary challenges (everything from peeling potatoes to preparing an entrée). Fellow guests in the audience will determine the winner. 

Top Chef Night in the Main Restaurant 
This interactive dining experience is hosted by the chefs and features full menus of dishes they created. 

Private Cooking Classes (additional charge and limited availability)
The six chefs will each host a private cooking class. After the learning is done, the group will savor a delicious lunch in one of our specialty restaurants. 

Private Dinners (additional charge and limited availability) 
The chefs will each host a private dinner that features a complete menu of dishes created by the hosting chef. This mouthwatering event will be held in one of our specialty restaurants. 

NEW! "Dual" Cooking Demonstrations 
This time around, we're taking our cooking demonstrations to the next level. The two participating chefs will be battling against each other as they tell the audience about the dishes they're preparing and answer questions from the audience. In the end, the audience members choose the winner. 

NEW! Chef–hosted Shore Excursions (additional charge and limited availability)
Join the chefs ashore! Some chefs will host specially chosen shore excursions that let you experience the destinations with them.

For more information about this program and to make reservations, contact for EXCLUSIVE rates and amenities at 203-288-1884 or email at

Carnival Corp. Reaches Settlement on ADA Violations

Carnival Corp. Reaches Settlement on ADA Violations

Carnival Corp. and the U.S. Justice Department reached a landmark settlement agreement to promote cruise ship accessibility to people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement seeks to provide greater access on 62 ships in the Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises fleets, according to a Justice Department press release.
The settlement is the result of an investigation of complaints that the company failed to properly provide and reserve accessible cabins for individuals with mobility disabilities; reasonably modify policies, practices and procedures to accommodate individuals with disabilities; afford individuals with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, including embarkation and disembarkation; and provide effective communication during muster and emergency drills.
The allegations were investigated by the Justice Department, and Carnival officials cooperated throughout the process. “This landmark ADA agreement will enable individuals with disabilities the opportunity to equally enjoy a full range of cabins and services that previously were unavailable while vacationing on cruise ships,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the U.S. government which was borne out of a cooperative effort,” Carnival Corp. said in a statement. “We have historically maintained a strong focus on accessibility and have a longstanding track record of meeting the needs of all our guests. We will continue to do so with even more enhancements in staff training, accessibility policies and communications, as well as additional shipboard accessibility features.”  Under the agreement, 42 ships and seven under construction will be surveyed and remediated to comply with the ADA regulations. Accessible cabins will be dispersed among the various classes of accommodations and will provide a range of accessible features, including features for guests with hearing impairments.
Carnival Corp. also will pay a civil penalty of $55,000 and $350,000 in damages to individuals harmed by past discrimination. The corporation also created brand standards that address an array of accessibility issues and policies to implement them, and will provide ADA training to employees and managers. In addition, Carnival Corp. will appoint an ADA compliance officer at the executive level and two ADA responsibility officers for Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Group, which includes Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Also, each ship will have ADA officers responsible for resolving ADA-related issues that arise at sea. “The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to public accommodations,” said Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of the civil rights division. “Cruise ships are ‘floating cities’ and provide a wide range of facilities and activities subject to the requirements of the ADA, such as lodging, dining, entertainment, recreation, and medical facilities. People with disabilities who travel must be able to count on getting the accessible cabin they reserve, and the cruise lines must provide equal access to the choice of amenities and attractions that passengers expect from a major cruise company like Carnival Corporation.”  Under the settlement, 3 percent of the cabins on 49 ships will be made to meet three levels of accessibility — fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins with a single side approach to the bed, and ambulatory accessible cabins. The remaining 13 ships will be subject to possible remediation if they continue to be in service in U.S. ports four years after the agreement is entered. Plus, the reservations systems will allow individuals with disabilities to reserve accessible cabins and suites with specific available options and amenities, and to guarantee reservations for accessible cabins.  For more information on this and cruising, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Norwegian again raises suggested gratuity

Norwegian Cruise Line said it will raise its suggested daily gratuity amount to $13.50 from $12.95, effective Aug. 1. For guests staying in suites, the new rate is $15.50, up from $14.95. It is the second time this year that Norwegian has raised gratuities for staff members. On March 1, the rate went up from the previous suggestion of $12.  When not pre-paid, gratuities in the suggested amounts are automatically added at the end of a cruise to a customer's onboard account. They can be adjusted upwards or downwards by visiting guest services. 
For more information on this or other information on cruising on Norwegian Cruise Lines, contact at 203-288-1884 or email:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Nickelodeon leaves Norwegian Ships

Nickelodeon leaves Norwegian Ships
Norwegian announced that its agreement with Nickelodeon to provide Nick-themed entertainment aboard select ships will end later this year.
The Nickelodeon entertainment will end on Norwegian Epic as of October and on the remaining four ships beginning in January 2016. It also will not appear on the new Norwegian Escape, which is due out in November. The partnership launched in 2010 and included Nickelodeon-branded shows, opportunities to meet characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, the Nickelodeon Pajama Jam Breakfast, Dora’s Dance Party, Story Time with Dora, and Nickelodeon arts and crafts.
“We are always looking at new ways to further enhance the onboard experience and bring new ideas to our guests,” said the Norwegian President. “As we continue making significant investments to further elevate our family programming and entertainment, such as our new Guppies Nursery and expanded sports deck on Norwegian Escape, our family offerings will continue getting even better. Norwegian said it has seen a 20 percent improvement in guest satisfaction with its complimentary youth programs — Splash Academy for kids and Entourage for teens — since they were redesigned in 2012.  “We’re proud to say there’s something for everyone around every corner of our ships, from circus school and scavenger hunts to themed events and parties,” 
For more information on this and to make reservation, contact for exclusive rates and promotional offers for all Norwegian ships and sailinsg at 203-288-1884 or email at

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Celebrity Promo lets Consumers chose Amenities

Celebrity Cruises is introducing a new inclusive pricing program that lets consumers choose which extra amenities they want during their cruise.

The “Go Big” pricing structure goes into effect July 6 for sailings starting in October 2015 through April 2017. It is good for ocean-view stateroom categories and up, but excludes the already all-inclusive Celebrity Xpedition voyages in the Galapagos as well as trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific sailings. All bookings, except inside cabins, can choose from four amenities — prepaid gratuities, $150 onboard credit, a Classic Beverage Package, and unlimited Internet.
Those who choose to “Go Big” get one amenity while “Go Better” would bundle in two of those extras at a slightly higher price. And “Go Best” gets all four for an inclusive product for a higher price, which is still lower than what they’d pay onboard for the same things. The “Go Best” prices include a premium beverage package instead of the Classic package.
The goal was to keep it simple and easily understood, she said.
“Those four amenities never change,” “It doesn’t matter if they book ocean-view staterooms, Concierge Class, Aqua Class or a suite. It’s all ships, all cabin categories, and all destinations.”
For more information on this and to make a reservation, contact for exclusive rates and this promotion at 203-288-1884 or email at

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Traveling to Greece need to have ample cash

Travelers heading to Greece should make sure they bring enough euros in cash to cover emergencies, given that banks in the country will be closed from June 29 to July 6, advised the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  The Greek government decided to close the banks and establish strict limits on ATM withdrawals after bailout negotiations between the country and its creditors stalled over the weekend. The Greek government said it is not limiting withdrawals on cards issued outside of Greece, but long lines have formed at ATMs in the country, making it difficult to get cash quickly, according to reports.  The system for paying with debit and credit cards for retail transactions continues to function, noted the U.K. government, but travelers should have sufficient cash with them in case those banking services fail.  Travelers should take appropriate security precautions against theft, added the U.K. government.
Bailout terms from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been rejected by the Greek government. The Greek people will vote on whether to accept the terms in a snap referendum on July 5. If the vote is no, Greece could default on its debt and leave the eurozone.
For more information on this and to make a reservation for cruises that visit Greece, contact at 203-288-1884 or email at

Disney bans Selfie Sticks

The Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks will no longer permit selfie sticks effective June 30, the company said.
The Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland theme parks will also instill the policy, effective July 1.  “We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast,” a Disney spokeswoman said.  According to the company, because the devices, which are essentially retractable sticks people use to snap photos of themselves, continue to be used on attractions despite signs that say "no selfie sticks” and despite verbal warnings, many popular attractions have experienced down times, which disrupt the guest experience.   “We are encouraging guests to not bring selfie sticks to Disney theme parks. If a selfie stick is observed in the theme park, guests will have the option of checking their device for pickup near the main entrance prior to departure or returning to the park after they’ve stored it in an alternate location outside the theme park,” the spokeswoman explained.  Parks employees have been and will continue to be on hand to help take photos of Disney guests, the company stated.
Selfie sticks have never been permitted on Disney attractions. Earlier this year, signage had been added as a reminder of the policy.
For more information on this and to make a reservation for a Disney Park or Cruise, contact for exclusive offers and promotions at 203-288-1884 or email at

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cruises Cancel South Korea Calls Due to MERS Outbreak

The MERS outbreak in South Korea now is impacting the cruise industry, with several ships canceling calls to Busan, Jeju Island and Incheon, the port for Seoul. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has canceled calls to South Korea for Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and SkySea Golden Era, the former Celebrity Century. These port calls were replaced with an alternate port or a sea day. “We’ve been closely monitoring all developments regarding the increase in the number of cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, also referred to as MERS in South Korea,” RCCL said. “Health authorities from a variety of nations are investigating the situation and we remain keenly attuned to their progress.” Carnival Corp. said it is also is updating its pre-boarding health questionnaire but that itineraries “have largely remained intact.” Its Sapphire Princess, under charter to Chinese travel giant Ctrip, replaced originally scheduled calls at Busan and Jeju with a visit to Okinawa, Japan, according to a recent story in WantChinaTimes.
Royal Caribbean also has strengthened its passenger and crew screening procedures on ships sailing in the region. The line said anyone onboard who shows symptoms can be isolated and treated with anti-viral medications that are stocked on all ships. A viral respiratory illness, symptoms of MERS include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC on June 5 issued a low-level alert for South Korea, which means travelers there are urged to “practice usual precautions.” Royal Caribbean passengers are receiving letters regarding MERS, including a description of symptoms, and ways to prevent the spread of the disease. Hand sanitizers are available throughout the ships, and the line asked guests to wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water often. It also recommended covering mouths and noses with tissue when coughing or sneezing and to dispose of used tissues in wastebaskets. If tissues are not available, it is recommended to cough or sneeze into upper sleeves, not one’s hands. “Like our guests, we take all health matters seriously and we’ll continue to closely follow all developments regarding MERS,” RCCL said.
For more information on this and cruises, contact at 203-288-1884 or email at

Say Farewell to Cruises-to-Nowhere

Say Farewell to Cruises-to-Nowhere

Say good-bye to cruises-to-nowhere from U.S. homeports. Starting in 2016, foreign-flagged cruise ships can no longer operate voyages that do not stop at a foreign port. What isn’t immediately clear, however, is why. The Cruise Lines International Association issued this statement: “While itinerary decisions are made by individual cruise lines, beginning in 2016, in compliance with U.S laws and regulations, foreign-flagged cruise lines operating out of U.S. ports are not to offer cruises for sale that do not include a call in a foreign port. Ships are cleared into and out of the United States by officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”  When asked the reason for the change, CLIA’s spokeswoman said the statement is all she could provide at this time. “Due to recent changes in how ships are cleared into and out of the United States by U.S. officials, certain short duration cruises without a foreign port of call are subject to itinerary changes beginning in 2016. Unfortunately, this means that no cruise line will not be permitted to operate cruises-to-nowhere. The short cruises that don't visit any ports often are sold as getaways and are booked by people who like the sea. It was unclear how the cruise-to-nowhere itineraries would be adjusted. 
For more information on this and to make a reservation for a cruise, contact at 203-288-1884 or email at

AmaWaterways Details Family Staterooms on New Ships

AmaWaterways Details Family Staterooms on New Ships

AmaWaterways’ two new European river ships set to debut next year will offer a variety of family-friendly staterooms and suites. The 158-passenger sister ships AmaViola and AmaStella will have 12 staterooms that can accommodate up to three family members each, six sets of adjoining cabins that can be connected via an internal doorway, and four suites with convertible sofa-beds that can accommodate up to four.  Also, the fitness room and salon will be moved to the lower deck, opening up space on higher decks for balcony cabins and suites.  “These new ships have been developed in a way that will bring added comfort to groups and families seeking the beauty, history and culture of a European river vacation,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “They were designed in part with feedback from our new partners at Adventures by Disney, and we are confident that the final result will broaden the appeal of our product to new types of travelers.”  Adventures by Disney is offering seven family river cruises on the AmaViola in 2016.
Both vessels will feature marble-appointed bathrooms, multi-jet showerheads, plush linens, sun decks and heated pools with swim-up bars. Fares include complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, and complimentary bottled water provided daily in staterooms. The new ships will start cruising on the Danube and Rhine rivers in the spring. AmaStella’s maiden voyage will depart April 6, followed by AmaViola’s inaugural cruise on April 20.
For more information on this and to make a reservation, contact at 203-288-1884 or email at for exclusive programs, rates and amenities.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Carnival Bans Bringing Bottled Water Onboard

Carnival Cruise Lines is changing its beverage policy. Guests will no longer be able to bring any bottled water onboard. The line is also lowering the charge for purchasing bottled water on its ships.
Essentially, guests will no longer be able to bring any water, sodas, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard in bottles. Carnival cites instances of alcoholic beverages being smuggled in those bottles – causing safety and security concerns. In turn, the line has reduced its price for bottled water to 12 bottles for $2.99, providing the water is reserved in advance. The price is comparable to what guests would pay in the grocery store. To receive that price, the guest must reserve the bottled water online in advance; it will then be delivered to the room. If guests wait to buy it onboard, the price is $4.99 per 12 bottles. The line says it will basically break even with the new fee structure, if that.  Carnival stresses that people can still bring up to 12 cans or cartons (per person) containing juice, sodas and other nonalcoholic beverages. But bottles are not permitted. The carry-on wine policy and onboard corkage fee remains the same. Carnival says some safety issues onboard have been investigated and found to be caused by guests' use of smuggled alcohol. Guests are also bringing what Carnival considers as "excessive amounts" of bottled water - thus slowing down embarkation as inspections must occur.  Not suprisingly, much of the abuse cited by the line is occurring with boarding in the U.S. for Caribbean itineraries. That said, all North American ports have a high complement of "drive market" guests -- who bring coolers and cart cases of water and other beverages, as they're not restricted by airline regulations or baggage fees. 

The official Carnival Letter”
“While your bags may not be packed just yet, we wanted to let you know about some changes to our Liquor & Beverage policy which is being modified effective with sailings departing July 9, 2015.
Bottled water carried in "excessive amounts" is slowing down the security screening at ports.“Often times, we find guests transporting alcohol onboard through unauthorized means resulting in unmonitored consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, this has led to behavioral and safety related concerns. “We have also found that bottled beverages are frequently used to transport alcohol and the screening measures needed to validate the contents delay the embarkation process for all guests. “For these reasons, we find it necessary to modify our Liquor and Beverage policy, including restricting guests from bringing bottled beverages aboard our ships. To avoid any potential disappointment at the start of your cruise, please familiarize yourselves with our new Liquor and Beverage Policy below, which will be strictly enforced. • Guests are prohibited from bringing water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard that are packaged in bottles. 
• A small quantity of non-alcoholic beverages (i.e., sparkling water, sodas, juice, and milk) packaged in cans or cartons may be brought onboard on embarkation day only in guests’ carry-on luggage. A small quantity is considered a maximum of 12 sealed, unopened cans/cartons of 12 ounces each or less per person.  
• Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages on board with the following exception: 
At the beginning of the cruise during embarkation day only, guests (21 years of age and older) may bring one 750 ml bottle of sealed/unopened wine or champagne per person in their carry-on luggage.
A $15 corkage fee (a charge exacted at a restaurant for every bottle of wine served that was not bought on the premises), per 750 ml bottle, will be charged should guests wish to consume their wine or champagne in the main dining room, steakhouse or bar.  
• All liquor, beer, other forms of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages outside of the exceptions referenced above are strictly prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage and such items will be confiscated and discarded and no compensation will be provided.
• All alcohol purchased in ports of call or in the Fun Shops will be returned on the morning of debarkation.
• Guests are prohibited from bringing large coolers onboard since screening and movement of large coolers through embarkation is an impediment to the boarding and security process. However small, personal-sized coolers, no larger than 12”H x 12”L x 12”W for the purpose of housing small quantities of non-alcoholic beverages and/or medications are permitted as carry-on luggage.
We know some of our guests are accustomed to bringing on their own supply of bottled water so as part of this new policy we have significantly reduced the pricing for spring bottled water which will be conveniently delivered directly to your stateroom. Pricing is as follows:
• $2.99 (plus tax) for a 12-pack of 500 ML of bottled water for pre-cruise purchase. Please visit to place your order before your cruise to ensure we have an ample supply onboard.
• $4.99 (plus gratuities) for a 12-pack of 500 ML of bottled water for purchase onboard.
We sincerely apologize for any disappointment these changes may cause however, we firmly believe this will result in a safer environment while also improving the embarkation process and the overall guest experience. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrity Cruises to add overnight stays in the Caribbean

Celebrity Cruises said it will add an overnight stay to the itinerary of Caribbean cruises of 10 days or longer, starting in January 2016. The decision affects 43 cruises, said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales. Ritzenthaler stressed that overnights are typically a feature of cruises outside the Caribbean, so Celebrity is breaking ground with the move. “This gives us the ability to say we have more overnights in the Caribbean than any cruise line in the industry,” Ritzenthaler said. "While overnights have been a trend in the marketplace in Europe and in Asia, there really hasn’t been a movement and we believe we are a leader in this initiative." 
The destinations where overnights are planned include Aruba, Barbados, Cartagena, Cozumel, Curacao and St. Maarten. Ritzenthaler said they are among the highest-rated destinations in the Caribbean by guests. Five ships are scheduled to be in the Caribbean in the first quarter of 2016, but not all do itineraries of 10 days or longer.
Celebrity has been selling the 2016 Caribbean winter season since the fall of 2014 and cruises have been booking well, Booked guests will get the bonus of an overnight stay.  For more information on this and to get Exclusive rates for reservations with special amendities, contact at 203-288-1884 or email

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Disney Cruises to sail from New York

Disney Cruises to sail from New York
NEW YORK — In the fall of 2016, the Disney Magic will return to New York City with four southbound cruises and one to Canada. The Magic last sailed out of the Big Apple in 2012. On Oct. 2, 2016, a five-night cruise will sail to Halifax and Saint John to take to advantage of fall foliage. On Oct. 7, an eight-night cruise will stop at Castaway Cay, Nassau and Port Canaveral. The cruise includes a ticket to Walt Disney World.
Three seven-night cruises will leave Oct. 15, 22 and 29, stopping at Castaway Cay and Port Canaveral/Disney World. A Disney spokesperson said it is "likely" that these will include "Halloween on the High Seas" celebrations.  For more information on these sailings and to make reservations, contact at 800-775-1884 or email